Growing up, you most likely began to associate hearing loss with aging. You may have had older people around you trying to hear words or wearing hearing aids.
But much like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you up until it fast drew near, when you discover more with regards to hearing loss, you come to understand that it has much less to do with old age and far more to do with something else.
Most people are reluctant to admit they suffer from hearing loss because it causes them to feel old.
Hearing Loss Is an “Any Age Condition”
Even before we turn 13, hearing specialists can already detect some hearing loss in 13% of cases. Needless to say, somebody who is 12 is not really “old”. Teenage hearing loss has gone up 33% in the past 30 years.
What’s at work here?
Out of all 45 – 55-year olds, 2% presently suffer from debilitating hearing loss, and with 55 – 65-year-olds it’s 8%.
It’s not an aging issue. What you might consider age-related hearing loss is actually 100% avoidable. Significantly reducing your hearing loss is very achievable.
Sensorineural hearing loss, which is the medical term for age-related hearing loss, is normally induced by by loud noise.
For a long time people have assumed that hearing loss was just part of aging. However thanks to innovative science we understand a great deal more concerning hearing loss prevention and also hearing regeneration.
How Loud Noise Causes Hearing Loss
The first step to protecting your ears is realizing how something as “innocent” as noise can cause hearing loss.
Sound is composed of waves of pressure. Traveling down into your ear these waves go past your eardrum and into the inner ear.
Tiny hair cells vibrate here within the inner ear. Which hair cells vibrate, and how rapidly or frequently they vibrate, become a neurological code. Your brain can turn this code into the sound of peoples voices, the sound of wind, a car horn, a yell or anything else you might hear.
The trouble is that when sounds are too loud these little hairs are injured beyond repair. The noise shakes them to death.
If these hairs are gone then so is your hearing.
Why Noise-Related Hearing Loss is Permanent
If you cut yourself, the injury heals. These little cells never heal. When they are gone, they are gone forever. Each and every time you are subjected to loud sound, more of these cells die.
Hearing loss advances as they die.
Hearing Damage can be Caused by Everyday Noises
Many people are surprised to discover that routine activities might be the cause of hearing loss. It’s very easy to discount:
- Going to a concert/play/movie
- Wearing earbuds/head phones
- Turning the car stereo up too loud
- Mowing the lawn
- Using farm equipment
- Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
- Driving on a busy highway with the windows or top down
- Working in a manufacturing plant or other loud profession
- Playing music in a band
You don’t have to give up these activities. Thankfully, you can take practical steps to lessen noise-related hearing loss.
Don’t Allow Hearing Loss Make you Feel old
You can acknowledge that you’re suffering from hearing loss without having to feel old. In fact, failing to acknowledge it can doom you to faster progression and problems that will certainly cause you to you feel a lot older in just a few years like:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
For people with untreated hearing loss, these are significantly more common.
How can you Stop Further Hearing Damage?
The first step is to learn how to to prevent hearing loss.
- Sound meter apps are readily available for your phone that can tell you how loud things actually are.
- Learn about damaging volumes. Over 85 dB (decibels) will cause irreversible hearing damage in 8 hours. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to cause permanent hearing loss. 120 dB and above results in instant hearing loss. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
- You should know that you have already caused hearing damage if you have had a hard time hearing, or if your ears were ringing, after a concert. It will get a lot more obvious as time goes by.
- Wear earplugs or maybe sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- Observe workplace hearing protection policies.
- Minimize your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Steer clear of standing close to loudspeakers or turning speakers up when listening at home.
- Get earbuds/headphones that have integrated volume control. These never go higher 90 decibels. Most people would need to listen pretty much non-stop all day to cause irreversible damage.
- High blood pressure, not enough blood oxygen, and some medications can cause you to be more vulnerable at lower volumes. To be sure, don’t ever listen to headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Put on your hearing aid. Not wearing a hearing aid when you actually need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s a lot like your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it will be much more difficult to start walking again.
Make an Appointment With a Hearing Specialist
Are you in denial or procrastinating on it? Make the right decision sooner than later. You need to be aware so you can be proactive to lessen further damage.
Talk to Your Hearing Professional Concerning Hearing Solutions
There are no “normal cures” for hearing loss. If you have serious hearing loss, it’s time to get a hearing aid.
A Cost-Benefits Comparison is the First Step
Many sufferers are either in denial about hearing loss, or alternatively, they choose to “tough it out.” They feel that hearing aids will make them feel old. Or perhaps they believe that they are too expensive.
However as soon as they realize that hearing loss will deteriorate faster and can cause numerous health and personal difficulties, it’s easy to see that the pros greatly outweigh the cons.
Call a hearing care specialist now about getting a hearing test. And if hearing aids are advisable, don’t be afraid of “feeling old.” Hearing aids these days are much sleeker and more advanced than you probably think!